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Lynn Willis

Chaosium has announced the death of Lynn Willis. Willis was creator or co-creator of many boardgames and RPGs, including probably the most influential horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu, and my personal favorite, Ghostbusters. Obituary by Ken Hite.
posted by jiawen on Jan 19, 2013 - 53 comments

To tell the story to someone else...

In 1974, Leon Leyson was one of a group of Jews who greeted Oskar Schindler when he visited Los Angeles. It was the first time the two had seen each other since the war. He began to introduce himself, but Schindler interrupted: "I know who you are," Schindler said, grinning at the middle-aged man before him. "You're Little Leyson." On Sunday, the youngest name on Schindler's List passed away at the age of 83. "The truth is, I did not live my life in the shadow of the Holocaust," he told the Portland Oregonian in 1997. "I did not give my children a legacy of fear. I gave them a legacy of freedom." [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 14, 2013 - 35 comments

Open access, open internet, closed book

Aaron Swartz, web technologist, has committed suicide. First mentioned on Metafilter for his involvement in the standardization of RSS in 2001 as a ninth-grader, most of Swartz's 26 years were devoted to leaving a lasting impact on the web. Swartz co-founded Infogami, which merged with the internet aggregator Reddit, and also founded the Internet activist organization Demand Progress which fought against the SOPA/PIPA legislation. His framework for web servers, web.py, was first released in 2006 when Reddit switched from Lisp to Python and continues to be actively used and updated. In a 2008 attempt to make a public version of the contents of the PACER public court records database, Swartz angered government officials when they learned he had downloaded 20 million articles, which he subsequently made freely available. In 2011 he was indicted for data theft for downloading large amounts from the academic article repository JSTOR. Despite JSTOR's statement indicating "no interest in this becoming an ongoing legal matter," the US case continued with additional charges, to which Aaron pled innocent in September of 2012. [more inside]
posted by Llama-Lime on Jan 12, 2013 - 528 comments

"the arts are just a part of the weapons of life"

The poet Jayne Cortez passed away this past December 28th in New York City (New York Times obituary). She started publishing her poems in the late 1960s and in the 70s began performing her poetry backed by music, first in collaboration with bassist Richard Davis, and then backed by her own band The Firespitters. Some of their tracks have found their way to YouTube: I See Chano Pozo, If the Drum Is a Woman, There It Is, Maintain Control & Economic Love Song I, Everybody Wants to Be Somebody, Takin' the Blues Back Home, Talk to Me (for Don Cherry), I've Been Searching, You Can Be and Endangered Species List Blues. Just two years ago she performed solo with her son by Ornette Coleman, drummer Denardo Coleman: Find Your Own Voice, I'm Gonna Shake and She Got He Got. In 1997 she was featured on University of California television network in the series Artists on the Cutting Edge where she read poems and discussed her work. Finally, here's a brief clip from the 1982 documentary Poetry in Motion, where she was interviewed.
posted by Kattullus on Jan 5, 2013 - 4 comments

Gerda Lerner: "In my courses, the teachers told me about a world in which ostensibly one-half the human race is doing everything significant and the other half doesn’t exist. I asked myself how this checked against my own life experience. ‘This is garbage; this is not the world in which I have lived,’ I said."

Feminist historian Gerda Lerner has passed away at 92. An original member of the National Organization for Women, Lerner was a pioneer in the field of women's history, teaching what is thought to be the first women’s history course in the world and later establishing the first women's history graduate program in the United States. She led a fascinating life. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan on Jan 4, 2013 - 17 comments

Beate Sirota Gordon, 1923-2012; "The Only Woman In The Room"

Beate Sirota Gordon, Long-Unsung Heroine of Japanese Women’s Rights, Dies at 89: a NYT obituary relates the fascinating story of a young woman who was just the right person in just the right place at just the right time and managed to strike a blow for gender equality. [more inside]
posted by flex on Jan 4, 2013 - 20 comments

Keiji Nakazawa, 1939-2012

Keiji Nakazawa, the manga artist and creator of Barefoot Gen (previously),his autobiographical account of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, died on the 19th of December, still living in Hiroshima. His obituary is up on The Comics Journal website, while comics blogger David Brothers adds a more personal note about discovering Barefoot Gen as a preteen.
posted by MartinWisse on Jan 4, 2013 - 15 comments

Cities and the Soul

With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else. December 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of Invisible Cities -- the sublime metaphysical travelogue by author-journalist Italo Calvino. In a series of pensive dialogues with jaded emperor Kublai Khan, the explorer Marco Polo describes a meandering litany of visionary and impossible places, dozens of surreal, fantastical cities, each poetically reifying ideas vital to language, philosophy, and the human spirit. This gracefully written love letter to urban life has inspired countless tributes, but it's just the most accessible of Calvino's fascinating literary catalogue. Look inside for a closer look at his most remarkable works, links to English translations of his magical prose, and collections of artistic interpretations from around the web -- including this treasure trove of essays, excerpts, articles, and recommended reading. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Dec 30, 2012 - 26 comments

People must not create a myth, we're not different than other people

"Edlinger began to climb. As the last competitor, everyone at Snowbird knew how high he must get to beat his rivals and win the event. With apparent ease, he climbed past their high-points, until pausing beneath a huge overhang that had defeated all-comers. At that moment, a narrow shaft of sunlight pierced the cloud cover and illuminated Edlinger. When he completed the route, the only one from the world's best to do so, the crowd erupted. Until this point, American climbers had been unsure about competition climbing. After Edlinger, they were converted." - Patrick Edlinger, age 52, died on December 10, after years of battling depression following a near-death fall in the nineties that prevented him from climbing at the same level. [more inside]
posted by Riton on Dec 23, 2012 - 10 comments

The Real Dr. House, R.I.P.

William F. House, known by many in the field as the "Father of Neurotology," has died at the age of 89. Dr. House is credited with developing the cochlear implant, pioneering the use of the operative microscope in ear and brain surgery, and, with his brother Howard, establishing the House Ear Institute. [more inside]
posted by robstercraw on Dec 13, 2012 - 2 comments

Ravi Shankar has died.

Ravi Shankar, sitar virtuoso, has died at 92.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Dec 11, 2012 - 126 comments

RIP Nicholas Johnson, author of Big Dead Place

Nicholas Johnson, author of Big Dead Place: Inside the Strange and Menacing World of Antarctica, committed suicide on November 28, in West Seattle. His friend and former roommate Jason Anthony (mentioned in the acknowledgements of Big Dead Place) has written an obituary. An obituary from the book's publisher, Feral House. An adaptation of Big Dead Place remains in development with HBO. Previously.
posted by Xere on Dec 8, 2012 - 29 comments

Marty Reisman, table-tennis champion, dies at 82.

Following the slope formula of a morbid turn of mind is not the only reason to orbit the obits. Every now and then, the reading's well worthwhile! Marty Reisman, 82, a Wizard of Table Tennis, Dies.
posted by 0rison on Dec 8, 2012 - 9 comments

R.I.P. Reinhold Weege

Reinhold Weege, creator of Night Court has passed away at 63. Weege got his start writing for sitcoms like Barney Miller, its spinoff Fish and M*A*S*H, but was most famous for Night Court the long-running Harry Anderson vehicle for NBC. (Night Court was not the only legal-related show he created, though - he also had the short-lived Park Place, set in a legal-aid clinic.) Due to the success with Night Court he was able to go into semi-retirement, but he was reported to be recently working on a new play. [more inside]
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me on Dec 7, 2012 - 55 comments

Fyodor Khitruk (1917-2012)

The great Russian animator Fyodor Khitruk passed away on December 3rd at the age of 95. You might know him as the director of the delightful Vinni Puh. (Parts one and two can be seen here with subtitles, for part three see this previous post.) [more inside]
posted by louche mustachio on Dec 7, 2012 - 15 comments

Elisabeth Murdoch (nee Greene), 1908-2012

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, AC DBE, wife of Sir Keith and mother of Rupert, was an outspoken philanthropist. She died overnight in Australia, aged 103.
posted by wilful on Dec 5, 2012 - 16 comments

RIP Jazz master Dave Brubeck.

I am devastated to read that jazz master and Kennedy Center honoree Dave Brubeck has died. His influence on jazz was wide and profound. His frequent collaborator and the composer of one of the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s best known tunes, “Take Five,” Paul Desmond, said of the sound of his alto sax, “"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini." Brubeck was well-known for his use of differing time signatures, again referencing “Take Five” which was in 5/4 time and another example, “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” in 9/8 time. Desmond passed away in 2005, and Brubeck has left the earthly plain to join him in the Heavenly Jazz Band. RIP. (MLYT)
posted by Lynsey on Dec 5, 2012 - 182 comments

Trashman Forever

Spain Rodriguez Fought the Good Fight - underground comics artist Spain Rodriguez, most famous for his violent antihero Trashman, passed away yesterday.
posted by Artw on Nov 29, 2012 - 30 comments

Stubborn music

The Canto Ostinato is a minimalist classical composition written in 1976-1979 consisting of "small, entirely tonal cells which are repeated - how many times is left to the performer". Usually performed by two or four pianos, it's also been adapted to other instruments like the harp. The Canto Ostinato ("stubborn song") was written by Dutch composer Simeon ten Holt, who passed away yesterday. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 26, 2012 - 6 comments

Adios, Macho.

Boxer Héctor "Macho" Camacho has died, four days after being shot in the face while sitting in a parked car. Popular for his flamboyant and reckless style both in the ring and out, Camacho racked up an astounding career record of 79-6-3. In a famous 1997 bout, he knocked out Sugar Ray Leonard, scotching Leonard's final attempt at a comeback.
posted by MissySedai on Nov 24, 2012 - 18 comments

RIP Austin Peralta

Jazz prodigy Austin Peralta has died. Announcement and links to his music at Brainfeeder. Peralta contributed to Flying Lotus' recent album Until the Quiet comes; on Twitter this morning Flying Lotus wrote "it kills me to type that we lost a member of our family, Austin Peralta. I don't really have the right words right now." From Fact: "In his tragically short life, the California native had proved himself to be a fearsome and precocious talent. At 15 years old, Peralta was already touring the world with his own trio, and performing alongside legends like Chick Corea and Omar Hakim. Whilst still at high school, Peralta headed up ensembles featuring luminaries like Ron Carter and Buster Williams. He also released two LPs (2006′s Maiden Voyage and Mantra) in Japan before the age of 16." His entry on Wikipedia. Tribute from Frank Ocean.
posted by jokeefe on Nov 22, 2012 - 12 comments

The Loss of One Classy Republican

Helen Wallbank Milliken, former Michigan First Lady and strong supporter of women's rights, passed away late yesterday. Married to William Milliken, Republican governor of Michigan from 1969 to 1983, Helen Milliken was both a strong proponent of both the ERA and of abortion rights. [more inside]
posted by still_wears_a_hat on Nov 17, 2012 - 18 comments

RIP, Lucille Bliss: Voice of Smurfette and Crusader Rabbit

'TV historians will tell you that “Felix the Cat” was one of the first images ever broadcast on television (when RCA broadcast a Felix doll in 1928 on experimental station W2XBS) — but it wasn’t until the late ’40s that the first animated character was created expressly for TV. Crusader Rabbit appeared for the very first time on KNBH (Los Angeles) on August 1, 1950, and featured a Don Quixote-like title character aided by his friend Ragland T. “Rags” Tiger as they pursued adventures in serial (i.e. cliffhanger) installments.' On November 8th, the voice of Crusader Rabbit, Lucille Bliss, passed away at the age of 96. Ms. Bliss may be more familiar to younger fans as the voice of Smurfette, from The Smurfs, or as Ms. Bitters on Invader ZIM. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 15, 2012 - 18 comments

Dennis Avner has died.

RIP to internet and body-mod legend Stalking Cat Known as "the cat guy" on many parts of the internet, Dennis had spent money to shape himself in the form of his totemic animal, which he described as "a stalking cat". He held the world record for "most permanent transformations to look like an animal" by a single person No note or reason has been shared by the family.
posted by boo_radley on Nov 14, 2012 - 66 comments

"Things that were once completely normal now seem totally surreal."

Innovative and extraordinarily talented British animator Run Wrake is perhaps best known for the short films Rabbit (previously, details) and The Control Master (previously). Run passed away suddenly just a few weeks ago, less than a year after having been diagnosed with cancer. He was 47. Here is an interview with Run from APEngine. [more inside]
posted by oulipian on Nov 8, 2012 - 11 comments

Paul Kurtz dead at 86

Paul Kurtz, noted secular humanist, has died. Kurtz was a philosophy professor who was instrumental in the founding of a number of skeptical and humanist organizations. These include the Committee for Scientific investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (publisher of Skeptical Inquiry), the Council for Secular Humanism (publisher of Free Inquiry magazine), and the Center for Inquiry. [more inside]
posted by TedW on Oct 23, 2012 - 27 comments

Bill Hill, digital typography and e-book pioneer, died Wednesday.

Bill Hill, digital typography and e-book pioneer, died Wednesday. A pioneer in using science to explain how our brains let us read, he was at Microsoft in the 1990s, and was one the inventors of ClearType, a technology for improving online reading on Windows. His passionate and entertaining lectures include Homo Sapiens 1.0 (transcript) which advocated that programmers need to learn as much about how their user's brains work rather than just OSes and programming languages, Why you only need one space after a period and the section of that talk on Why underlining hurts your brain. He died Wednesday from a heart attack.
posted by Berkun on Oct 20, 2012 - 42 comments

(Noun) (Adverb) (Verb) RIP

Larry Sloan, the ____(adjective)____ publisher of the ___(adverb)___ ___(adjective)____ "Mad Libs" died on October 18th. His family and friends described him as ____(adjective)_____, ____(adjective)_____, kind to his pet ____(animal)____, and very interested in his hobby, collecting _____(plural noun)____.
posted by xingcat on Oct 19, 2012 - 54 comments

Adieu Emmanuelle

Adieu Emmanuelle
Sylvia Kristel (NSFW) has died aged 60 from Cancer.
In one Parisian theater, Emmanuelle played non-stop for over a decade.
Roger Ebert Kristel actually seems to be present in the film, and as absorbed in its revelations as we are. It's a relief, during a time of cynicism in which sex is supposed to sell anything, to find a skin flick that's a lot better than it probably had to be.
Some Pictures [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Oct 18, 2012 - 42 comments

RIP, Prince of Sealand

In his 45th year on the throne, Prince Roy Bates has passed away at the age of 91. The seeds of his nation were planted with the establishment of pirate station Radio Essex aboard the Knock John Tower offshore platform. Legal troubles forced Bates to move his operations further into international waters, claiming Roughs Tower for himself, and establishing the micronation of Sealand. He is survived by his wife and children, including his son, Prince Michael Bates, who has been acting ruler the nation of Sealand since the 1990s.
posted by AzraelBrown on Oct 12, 2012 - 24 comments

The Railway Man

Eric Lomax, River Kwai prisoner who forgave, dies at 93.
posted by tykky on Oct 11, 2012 - 32 comments

Grupo Cine Liberación 1968-2012

"The death in Buenos Aires of Argentine filmmaker (in Spanish) and theorist Octavio Getino was reported on the same day as that of the historian Eric Hobsbawm in London. Worlds apart and different spheres of activity, perhaps, but both contributed in major ways to the broad current of independent and international critical culture that grew up after 1968, even though Hobsbawm remained a Communist and Getino was always a Peronist." - Michael Chanan, with a video interview of Mr. Getino from 1982.
posted by parmanparman on Oct 2, 2012 - 5 comments

Our Huckleberry Friend

Popular US crooner Andy Williams, best known for singing the bittersweet "Moon River" (YouTube link), is dead at age 84. [more inside]
posted by Sidhedevil on Sep 26, 2012 - 52 comments

"Are we the baddies?"

Danish author Sven Hassel (Wikipedia, official site) has passed away at the age of 95. (Danish - Translation) Hassel fought for the Germans during WWII and became famous after publishing Legion of the Damned, a semi-autobiographical account of the war. He went on to write thirteen more books following the adventures of his convict battalion, incuding Wheels of Terror which in 1987 was made into the movie The Misfit Brigade staring Bruce Davison and David Patrick Kelly (clip). He will be remembered fondly by all who browsed the bookshelves of charity shops as young men.
posted by Artw on Sep 23, 2012 - 31 comments

The Autumn wind is pirate

Filmmaker, football ambassador, part-time poet, creator of a music video genre and NFL films president Steve Sabol has passed away at the age of 69. The winner of 40 Emmys, Sabol made arguably the single biggest impact on the mythology of American football, completely changing the way the sport was covered and photographed.
posted by nathancaswell on Sep 18, 2012 - 33 comments

The Spirit Catches Lia Lee, RIP

First published in 1997, Anne Fadiman's book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, a chronicle of a Hmong refugee family's interactions with the American medical system in the face of a child's devastating illness, has become highly recommended, if not required, reading for many medical students and health care professionals, over the past 15 years quietly changing how young doctors approach patients from different cultures. On August 31, with little publicity, Lia Lee, the young girl who inspired the book, after living most of her life in a persistent vegetative state, quietly died [NYT obit].
posted by Slarty Bartfast on Sep 15, 2012 - 79 comments

Bill Moggridge, 1943-2012.

Bill Moggridge, 1943-2012 "I think it's always wise to remember to use the dirtiest method you possibly can at the time. Use the quickest thing and the simplest thing for the stage you're at." Bill Moggridge, designer, co-founder of IDEO and director of the Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, died after a battle with cancer on September 8 2012. [more inside]
posted by running order squabble fest on Sep 9, 2012 - 12 comments

Michael Clarke Duncan, 1957-2012

Michael Clarke Duncan has died at 54 from a heart attack, following recent heart problems. After working as a bodyguard for the Notorious B.I.G. he landed his first major role in Armageddon (1998) which led to his Oscar-nominated performance in The Green Mile (1999). He is also known for prominent roles in The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Daredevil (2003), and Sin City (2005).
posted by Evilspork on Sep 3, 2012 - 99 comments

Excess heat without light

Martin Fleischmann, who with Stanley Pons claimed in a press conference to have observed sustained nuclear fusion in a room-temperature experiment, died on August third at age 85. [more inside]
posted by fantabulous timewaster on Aug 31, 2012 - 19 comments

A photograph isn’t necessarily a lie, but nor is it the truth. It’s more of a fleeting, subjective impression.

Goodbye Martine Franck.
My grandfather killed himself falling off the dike in Ostend while photographing my two cousins.
This can happen so easily when looking through a lens: for a split second nothing else exists outside the frame

Here she explains her choice of an iconic photograph.
She followed the Theatre du Soleil from it's conception and sought out the Tibetan Tulkus.
Here is a Magnum slideshow and her Magnum Albums.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 25, 2012 - 2 comments

The 555 Timer IC

The simple but powerful 555 timer IC can be rigged to produce a timed pulse or a square-waveform oscillation up to 68kHz. It later came in dual-timer (556), quad-timer (558), military-grade (SE555), and low-power (7555) configurations. Although it's largely obsolete in commercial electronics, it became beloved of amateurs wanting an easy and cheap way to make things buzz or blink. In memory of the recent passing of its inventor, Hans Camenzind, Make Magazine offers a retrospective of 555 contest winners. Here's a tutorial on chip function from instructables. How to build a toy piano. The morse code practice circuit. Miniature beeping circuit prank to baffle your friends and co-workers and a screaming altoids tin. (Previously on metafilter, the 555 footstool.)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos on Aug 22, 2012 - 44 comments

Guess St. Peter needed a good laugh

Phyllis Diller, dead at 95 I encountered her first on Scooby Doo and I discovered how funny she really was as an adult. She was on the Ed Sullivan show in 1969 and she sounded just as fresh and full of sass in an interview I heard taped last year.
posted by peppermind on Aug 20, 2012 - 131 comments

Tony Scott, 1944-2012

Tony Scott, younger brother of Ridley Scott, is perhaps best known for directing True Romance, but he had a long career making action films that had verve and a pulse, including an ongoing collaboration with Denzel Washington. His last film, Unstoppable, was one of his biggest critical and commercial hits, earning him widespread praise as the consummate mainstream Hollywood stylist. He committed suicide today at age 68.
posted by eugenen on Aug 19, 2012 - 171 comments

"The latest victim of the tumor has been my facial nerve."

Kathi Goertzen, a TV news anchor on KOMO in Seattle, has died after battling brain tumors for 14 years. In 2011, she candidly discussed how it felt to be in the public eye after a tumor caused one side of her face to become paralyzed. [more inside]
posted by skycrashesdown on Aug 14, 2012 - 18 comments

The Oldest Living Cosmo Girl Has Left Us

Author and longtime Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Helen Gurley Brown has died at the age of 90. [more inside]
posted by MissySedai on Aug 13, 2012 - 49 comments

RIP Joe Kubert

Comic book artist Joe Kubert has died. Kubert, who started a New Jersey school of cartooning that cemented his legacy as an industry great, has died after a hospital stay. He was 85.
posted by Ice Cream Socialist on Aug 12, 2012 - 41 comments

Farewell, Pushcart Queen

Farewell Pushcart Queen: Jean Merrill has passed away from cancer. Many of her 30 books were young adult stories which followed underdogs in conflict with powerful interests. Her most well-known books were The Pushcart War, about a confrontation between New York pushcarts and the trucking industry, and The Toothpaste Millionaire, about a young African American entrepreneur who challenges big business. (previously) [more inside]
posted by honest knave on Aug 12, 2012 - 33 comments

Mel Stuart goes to the great chocolate shop in the sky.

RIP Mel Stuart, 1928-2012. Best known for directing Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — essentially an elaborate product-placement for Quaker Oats, which funded the whole thing to promote a new chocolate bar — the versatile Stuart was also a committed documentarian whose films for producer David L. Wolper included 1964's Four Days in November and 1973's Wattstax.
posted by Joey Bagels on Aug 10, 2012 - 27 comments

David Rakoff, 1964-2012

David Rakoff, essayist and humorist, died on August 9th. Huffington post obituary; The Awl obituary. If you're not familiar with his writing, a good place to start might be listening to any of of his appearances on This American Life.
posted by Greg Nog on Aug 10, 2012 - 136 comments

No Llora mas....Adios Chavela; mil besos a ti.

Chavela Vargas, iconic singer in the Spanish speaking world has died aged 93.
She would appear on stage dressed as a man, toting a gun or brandishing a bullwhip, and drawing on a fat cigar or swigging from a bottle of hooch.
La Llorona her tribute to Frida Kahlo, is probably one of her better known songs outside the Spanish speaking world.
Some of her other songs:
En el último trago.
Piensar en mi.
Se me olvido otra vez.
Noche de bodas with Joachin Sabina.
Flor de azalea. [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Aug 9, 2012 - 14 comments

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